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In radio address, Obama pledges quick action

He says that when he takes office, he wants to 'hit the ground running' with an economic stimulus package.

November 09, 2008|Rick Pearson | Pearson writes for the Chicago Tribune.

CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama used the Democrats' weekly radio address Saturday to pledge quick action by his administration in tackling the nation's economic woes, acknowledging that there won't be "a moment to lose" when he takes office in January.

Echoing comments he made the day before in meeting with his Transition Economic Advisory Board in Chicago, Obama noted that the October employment report, showing a 10th consecutive month of job declines, underscored how millions of Americans are struggling amid "the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime."

Obama, who is to meet with President Bush in Washington on Monday, said he appreciated the outgoing Republican chief executive's offer of support and assistance during the transition at a time when the nation is under economic duress.

Bush said in his weekly presidential radio speech Saturday that "ensuring that this transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in office."

But Obama and Bush already appear at odds over the Democrat's call for quick action on a new economic stimulus package as part of a "rescue plan for the middle class."

Obama has pledged a new stimulus plan will be the first item he will tackle as president if Washington fails to act before then.

"While we must recognize that we only have one president at a time and that President Bush is the leader of our government, I want to ensure that we hit the ground running on Jan. 20, because we don't have a moment to lose," the president-elect said in remarks taped Friday and aired Saturday.

Though Obama promoted the "rescue plan" to boost job creation efforts, he also said the economic downturn should not delay moving ahead with his campaign agenda of promoting clean-energy technology and jobs, expanded healthcare, education investment and tax cuts for the middle class.

"I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead," Obama said in calling for Washington to put aside its partisanship. "We've taken some major actions to date, and we will need further actions during this transition and subsequent months. Some of those choices will be difficult, but America is a strong and resilient country."

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